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William Barak: contemporary artists inspired by his life and work

Level 5, 6, 7, 8
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Learn about the about the life and work of William Barak. Barak became an important leader and artist who played a significant role in the continuation of his peoples’ culture. Barak was born in the early 1820s at Brushy Creek near present-day Croydon, in country of the Wurundjeri people. He lived at Coranderrk Aboriginal Station 1863-1903 during a time of drastic upheaval for Indigenous people in Victoria. 

Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin, one of Barak’s descendants talks about Barak and Coranderrk and introduces the work of three contemporary artists who were commissioned by the NGV to create works about aspects of Barak’s life. Hear Vernon Ah Kee and Jonathan Jones talk about their works.
Consider what artworks tell us about culture and society.

Ideas for using this resource

  • Learn about the life and art of William Barak
  • Discover what made Barak an important leader and artist
  • Understand how Barak’s art and life reflects continuity and change
  • Gain an insight into life for Aboriginal people at Coranderrk Station
  • Explore the work of contemporary artists inspired by Barak’s life

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